Saturday, June 18, 2011

Billy Graham in Quotes

I remember as a child going to a Billy Graham crusade at the Atlanta Stadium. The sight of hundreds of people walking onto the field toward the platform where Graham was preaching the Gospel amazed me. What was it about this man? Now 40 years later, I realize it wasn't this man, but the Word preached that moved people out of their seats and onto the field. The Word demanded a response. Graham has been in ministry for over 70 years and has managed to not be involved in any major controversy. He has received his share of criticism, but has stayed true to his calling to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Because of this, it would do us good to listen to what this preacher has to say. Now, with Billy Graham in Quotes, we can hear what he has to say. This book, compiled by his son Franklin Graham, is arranged topically (A-Z) so we can find a quote from this great minister on a variety of topics.

Here are just a few samples:

" In some churches today and on some religious television programs, we see the attempt to make Christianity popular and pleasant. We have taken the cross away and substituted cushions."

" The cross shows the seriousness of our sin - but it also shows us the immeasurable love of God."

"Many Christians want the benefits of their belief, but they hesitate at the cost of discipleship."

"The will of God will never take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us."

"Envy and greed starve on a steady diet of thanksgiving."

"End your journey well. Don't waste your life, and don't be satisfied with anything less than God's plan."

"The Christian life isn't a playground but a battlefield."

"If we are at peace with this world, it may be because we have sold out to it and compromised with it."

"The more worldly pleasure we enjoy, the less satisfied and contented we are with life."

"Salvation is an act of God. It is initiated by God, wrought by God, and sustained by God."

"Our chaotic, confused world has no greater need than to hear the Gospel truth."

Hundreds more gems like these are found in this collection of quotes.

This book is a great reference tool for times when you need some encouragement or insight into a particular area of struggle in your life, or if you need simply to to be refocused and re-centered on what matters most...Jesus Christ. This would make a great gift book as well.

This book was provided free in exchange for a review through the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program for bloggers.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Psalm 18

This great psalm of David spoke to me this morning through the Holy Spirit. The words reveal the promises of God to protect and care for His own. The Lord is called a rock, a fortress, deliverer, a refuge, a shield, a stronghold...and all this in only the 1st 3 verses.
David writes from a place of knowing what it means to be ensnared and strangled by the very throes of death (v.4-5) and be delivered. When I am distressed, as David was, I can cry out to God because He is my God, and He will hear my voice and my cry. It will reach His ears.
When God moves, nature responds. In fact, God is speaking to us all the time in nature as he command it. He uses nature to act on behalf of His people. God always delivers his people. We see it throughout scripture: we see it on the cross and in the resurrection as Jesus provides deliverance from the eternal consequences of sin and from the wrath of God that we all deserve, but was absorbed by Christ.
The question that always lingers and hovers over all of this, and completely baffles me at times, is Why?

  • Why does God even put up with us?

  • Why does He speak to us and deliver us, even through natural means?

  • Why does He hear our cries, cries that often come from a place of being in the middle of the mess we created for ourselves?

The answer is found in Psalm 18:19 when David writes these words of healing:

...because he delighted in me.

Imagine that:

  • The God that made everything and can destroy all things to dust with one breath

  • This God that holds all things together (Col. 1:17)

  • The God who has always been (Gen.1/John1)

  • The God who said "let there be light and there was light" (Gen 1:3) and then did the same in our hearts (2 Cor. 4:6)

This is the God who delights in us, who delights in me. He wants what is best for me and will go to great length to make sure I get it. He delights in me, like an artist that creates a work of art and looks on it in joy and sees its great worth. Or the joy and delight I see in my wife's eyes when she sees her granddaughter...delight. God's heart overflows with love toward us. He is delighted when we delight in Him.

Psalm 18 is based on a passage in 2 Samuel 22. The two versions of the song are almost identical, but one difference stood out to me. Psalm 18: 1 says: I love you, O Lord, my strength. The 2 Samuel version doesn't contain this; it begins at Psalm 18:2. Is it possible that Psalm 18:1 is a dedication, where David speaks his love to his Lord before putting the song down on paper, something like this:

I love you, O Lord, my strength. I delight in you. you have shown your great delight in me through the deliverance of my life from my enemies and from death itself. Here is my song of praise to you."

This great psalm flows out of a heart that delights in God...a heart that knows and understands that God delights in him.

God delights in you. Immerse yourself in Him!